Women Who Create / Saffron Reichenbacker

This week we welcome Saffron Reichenbacker to the WWC fold to share her super honest and inspiring account of running a creative business! Full to the brim with style and detail… A true artist! Saffron’s work will take you to world gone by.

Tell us a little about your background

I'm a full-time Artist, living and working in lovely Brighton. I create imagined portraits of vampy women from the 1920s & 30s.

I've been drawing/creating in some form for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a house filled with my father's wonderful, surrealist paintings. Drawing/making things was always encouraged as a family activity. One of my earliest memories is making storybooks with my parents and illustrating them. As I reached my teens, I was often holed away in my bedroom listening to music and making intense little collages. After being torn between working with animals, social psychology and Art, I decided to pursue Art as it came most naturally to me. I studied Fine Art Printmaking at the University of Brighton and went from there!

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

I try to do yoga most mornings and to meditate whenever I'm feeling stressed. Stretching in general is so important! Especially when you sit in the same position for hours.

As I work from home, I make sure I leave the house every day, (even if just for a walk round the block!).

Finally, I love a good list. I have a big book with lists for each day, weekly monthly goals etc. As well as a 'to do' list, I also am mindful to write 'done' lists as it's easy to overlook how much you do day to day.

What two things can't you live without?

Probably coffee and music! I love a fresh pot of coffee, some stroop waffles and some great music to send me off into a little creative trance!

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Wow there are just too many things! I’m obsessed with German Expressionism, 1930s horror, Weimar Berlin culture & adore aerial circus but my all time inspiration is my grandmother. She’s an amazing woman with the most wonderful stories. She has always encouraged me to pursue my art and her house is absolutely filled with my creations.

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What is the meaning of 'creativity' to you?

In a word, freedom. Allowing your imagination to flow and nurturing it. I think there is such a natural joy in creating. It's the purest form of communication from the heart.

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone... who would it be & why?

Probably Marchesa Luisa Casati. She was an exquisitely eccentric Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts, (born 1881). I'm fascinated by her! She can be summed up by one of her famous quotes, 'I want to be a living work of Art'

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I would also love to time travel back to 1920s Berlin and make film sets for German Expressionist films.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

Black uniball pens, they are my favourite to draw with. Lovely and inky!

What is the best thing about running your working for yourself?

Really believing in what I do and pushing myself to keep getting better and moving forward. It's hard work but gives a real sense of satisfaction.

And what is or has been the most challenging?

Self belief! Back in 2011, I had a total crisis of confidence in my work and career. After the input of people I really shouldn’t have listened to, I didn’t believe being an Artist was a ‘proper job’ and didn’t feel ‘valid’. Putting so much pressure on myself led to creative block for about a year. I was miserable. What took me out of that place was the people I love believing in me when I didn’t. I still have a postcard pinned above my desk sent at that time from my dear friend Vera. It simply says ‘Only Art Can Save Us Now’ & she was right! Looking back, I’m very grateful for that low point because it taught me a lot about myself and my career. Being a full time Artist is not an easy job, you do insanely long hours and need a huge amount of discipline and drive. You must believe in yourself and be proud!

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What is your proudest creative moment in the journey so far?

Thankfully, there have been quite a few. I was really excited to take part in a group show at La Luz De Jesus Gallery in Hollywood a couple of years back. I've been a big fan of the gallery for a long time so was thrilled to take part! To be honest though, any time people invest in my creations or tell me I'm their favourite Artist, it means the world to me. Also, It's very humbling when people have my Art tattooed on them. This has happened a few times, including two of my dearest friends which really meant so much, (and made me cry!).

What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who create to help them on their business journey?

It is really important to support and encourage other Artists. It can be a very solitary and sometimes overwhelming career. Community rather than competition benefits all of us. Always nurture your Art and most importantly, play. If you enjoy what you do, it really shines out and draws people in. Most important of all, Don't Give Up!

Find Saffron on IG http://www.instagram.com/saffron_reichenbacker